Sunday, June 10, 2018

Why I love my smartphone!


Smartphones get a lot of flack. A lot.

"Phones are getting smart but people are getting dumber."
"Our phones are making us stupid."
"Remember the good old days when.."

These are just a few examples of crap people say about smartphones.

Keep in mind that anything taken to extremes can be bad including something so good as food, or a bottle of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Or smartphones.

But if you don't take it to extremes, here are a few reasons why I love my smartphone.

"I love the internet, my friends live there."

That's true of the smartphone today. There was a time when I lived in US, I used to have to go through complicated procedures based on phone cards and landline to call my parents. From the smartphone not only did it become easier but also cheaper and I could have long conversations with my mum on absolutely nothing whenever I wanted.

With the fast internet connections and apps like Whatsapp my family can call me any time they want to talk to me.

No matter how much I hate Facebook it gives me a way to be involved in my kids' life and know what my friends are doing and thinking even when that thing is not crucial enough to warrant a call.

With the high-resolution camera, my phone lets me record wonderful things like a landscape on the way to work or a dance routine I want to review and remember later.

If I need to eat alone, and sometimes I do, my phone gives me multiple options for accompanying entertainment.

For my walks to the station my phones lets me listen to the music or an audiobook.

At work I have the option to watch a Youtube video and learn or amuse myself while I do some boring work.

It gives my friends an option to talk to me any time they want. And vice versa.

My smartphone removes the fear of driving to a new place with Google Maps being there all the time to guide me.

So, in short, my smartphone connects me with friends and family, helps me explore the world, amuses me, entertains me and informs me. I bet that's more than you can say about your wife.....and you love your wife, don't you? Well, let's not open that can of worms. Just suffice it to say I do love my smartphone and phoooey to anyone who dares to turn up her nose at it.

Sunday, June 03, 2018

The Big Bang Theory - Let me Fool You - GPS Logic Hole



The Big Bang Theory is my most favourite show. The paradox is that it's my favourite show because I love how they combine logic and humour in their writing, but the same love for logic often leads me to find faults with the story line or a particular item in the story when they go off the reservation.

I have talked about this sort of thing before in the episode where Howard misuses a robot hand and the one where Priya sneaks out to meet Leonard. In this post I want to talk about another one.

Season 6 Episode 13 - The Bakersfield Expedition. The guys are driving to the Bakersfield comic-con and Sheldon pesters Leonard to turn on the GPS turn-by-turn guidance. When he turns it on, it starts speaking in Sheldon's voice. Sheldon explains that he hacked the GPS software last night and replaced the audio with his own voice recordings.

Wrong!

Why?

In a non-Google maps GPS (SatNav in UK) software it IS possible to hack the software audio.
It IS possible to replace the audio files with any audio files of similar size.
BUT the audio doesn't read like a movie script. It is in fact made up of small audio clips with atomic level instructions. The files would say, for example "turn right", "at the next roundabout" or "you have reached your destination."

It will NOT read out the directions in a continuous audio with space to insert quizzes and information tid-bits in-between.

How do I know this?

I HAVE done this hack in the past. I found several flavours of audio packs online that could be used to replace the built-in audio of the GPS software. My favourite one was the one in Marilyn Monroe's voice. In addition to the normal directions in her sexy voice, when I reached my destination she used to say, in her seductive, breathy voice, "You have reached your destination, Mr. President."


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